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Comment: Re:Lots of weird crap coming out of Congress latel (Score 5, Insightful) 213

by crunchygranola (#49185031) Attached to: White House Threatens Veto Over EPA "Secret Science" Bills

the devil is in the details:

Yes, such as the 50,000 studies they "use" annually. Thats 137 studies 'used" per day. I guess common sense doesnt figure into your view of things sine you quoted the part where this is detailed, but failed to notice how ridiculous this is.

The EPA employs 16,000 people full-time and contracts out work to many more, so that is 3 studies per employee per year. I fail to notice anything ridiculous about the number.

Do tell us, what is the "right" number of studies?

Comment: Re:You can find proof of anything (Score 3, Funny) 139

by crunchygranola (#49182337) Attached to: Technology's Legacy: the 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All

You can find "proof" of anything you want to on the internet, whether it be that the Queen of England is really a lizard..

Googling "Queen of England is really a lizard"... whoa! 16.9 million hits! The top one: Reasons The Queen Is A Bloody Lizard. Will wonders never cease...

Comment: Re:Perhaps they Deserve It (Score 1) 139

by crunchygranola (#49182263) Attached to: Technology's Legacy: the 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All

Between the CIA, which spied on Mandela and tipped the South African secret police off to where to grab him, and the Apartheid regime itself, every scrap of dirt about Mandela was vigorously publicized by the supporters of the regime for 30 years. I'm sure it would have pleased them that their efforts did not go unheard, that violent oppression still has its fans.

Comment: Re:Classic Case (Score 1) 139

by crunchygranola (#49182131) Attached to: Technology's Legacy: the 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All

One way to put a lid on this sort of behavior is to remove anonymity. It would solve a lot of problems, and it doesn't interfere with freedom of speech - you can still say what you want, you just have to own it, same as if you stood up in the public square and said the same things.

Because those with power would never, ever use their power to punish people who say things they dislike?

If you spoke in the public square in days past those words would not be easily retrievable by anyone in the world, forever. Lack of anonymity then was fundamentally, profoundly different from now.

Comment: Re:Fair and impartial? (Score 1) 641

by crunchygranola (#49174989) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Hmm... perusing definitions of "espionage", both common and legal, they all have as a common element that the obtaining and disclosing of classified information is done on behalf of a foreign country.

I have never seen the U.S. government allege that Snowden was acting as a spy for any nation.

So: no espionage.

See the difference?

Comment: Re:What's the matter with Canada? (Score 2, Interesting) 116

by crunchygranola (#49089905) Attached to: The Disastrous Privacy Consequences of Canada's Anti-Terrorism Bill

How long has GOP-backed and advised Harper been in power now? What happened? Was it tar sand greed? ...

I think you are on to something. Right-wing extremist oil/energy money has been a potent factor in U.S. politics since the 1940s, witness the John Birch Society founded and run by Fred Koch. Its in-your-face craziness led to it being rejected by the Republican mainstream in the early 1960s, and then marginalized, but this very small group had enormous financial resources, and patience and has built up an enormous infrastructure to push their policies over the years, not just at the national level but in states around the country. It was an odd spectacle when the newly elected Governor Walker of Wisconsin took a call he thought was from Charles Koch and assured that citizen of Kansas that he was on board with his anti-union legislation program; evidently this resident of another state who could not cast a vote for him is Walker's real "constituent".

With the Tea party the John Birch Society in effect took over complete control of the Republican Party.

Just as the OIl Birchers have been taking control of the politics of states they don't live in, they seem to be pushing their politics in Canada too, no doubt with the assistance of much Canadian oil money. Farmers are being threatened with losing their farms in Nebraska so that a pipeline of Canadian tar-oil from tar sands project partly owned by the Koch brothers can get to Koch refineries in Louisiana.

Anyone opposing oil money will certainly get crushed, sooner rather than later.

Comment: Re:Nuclear power is not 'low carbon' (Score 2) 309

by crunchygranola (#49021127) Attached to: The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy

But Barnham does not really scrutinize the issue at all. For all his discussion of "rigor" and error bars in the collection of estimates, it does not consider the various components of the CO2 estimates except for one, which is apparently where most of the high CO2 release estimate comes: the assumption that uranium will be extracted from rock with a uranium content of 0.005% or less. This is the "yellow coal" scenario - at this concentration, using once-through U-235 burning only (boosted by in situ produced actinide burning) as in current reactors, the uranium ore contains no more energy than does coal.

But this is not a likely source of uranium in the future. Seawater is. It contains 1000 times as much uranium as the "yellow coal" ore, and can be extracted at a much lower energy cost, and a lower dollar cost as well.

We can estimate the energy cost of uranium from seawater by considering how it is collected, by immersing special polymer fabrics in seawater, to which the uranium ions attach. Polymers exist that have shown the ability to collect over 10% of their mass in uranium, and may be substantially reusable. The energy cost (and dollar cost) of manufacturing the polymers, deploying them, and stripping the uranium from them is considerably lower than mining and refining "yellow coal" uranium ore. Estimates of current seawater extraction technology are actually lower than the peak spot price of uranium already seen.

Nuclear power opponents dismiss seawater uranium with the argument that it is speculative, since no one produces uranium from this source yet. There is a good reason for that. We haven't exhausted supplies of richer ore yet, and thus don't need it. The fact that no one yet mines uranium ore with a uranium content of 0.005% either somehow does not trouble them in making their projections (the lowest grade ore currently mined is about ten times more concentrated than that).

Comment: Re:carbon cost of a nuclear generating plant (Score 1) 309

by crunchygranola (#49020839) Attached to: The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy

Nuclear plants definitely have a larger carbon cost to build. This is easily seen from the necessity of concrete containment structures - which produce a lot of carbon dioxide from the manufacture of cement (~6% of global CO2 emissions are from cement plants). Their high capital cost must reflect to some degree a high energy cost (and thus higher CO2 production cost) as well.

Comment: Re:FAA could only *limit* US launched rockets (Score 1) 283

by crunchygranola (#48973817) Attached to: FAA Could Extend Property Rights On the Moon Through Regulation

It is virologically impossible to spread smallpox with blankets. The whole story is mythology. The smallpox virus lives maximum 48 hours exposed to air and light. About enough time to move something 40 miles in pioneer days.

I'm sorry, you don't know what you are talking about. Infectivity from smallpox contaminated fabrics has been documented after more than a year. Not mythology at all.

Here is the key paragraph:

In the mid-twentieth century, there was concern for inadvertent importation of variola virus into Great Britain in raw cotton shipped in from tropical areas (22). Suspicion was raised for this vehicle of importation after outbreaks occurred in British workers who handled raw cotton. An experiment was conducted to test the viability of variola virus derived from smallpox lesion crusts found in imported raw cotton (19). Viable virus was obtained 530 days from crusts stored in indirect light at room temperature. Crusts stored at higher humidity (73% and 84%) were viable until 70 and 60 days, respectively. Similar results were obtained from a study in Bangladesh, which found viable virus could be isolated from crusts stored at lower temperatures.

Comment: Re:Good thing. (Score 1) 283

by crunchygranola (#48973243) Attached to: FAA Could Extend Property Rights On the Moon Through Regulation

For a corporation to get your money without your permission, they must sue you and get the government to agree. The government can just tax you.

A corporation does not need to "get" your money to stomp on you, they merely need to deprive you of it. They can easily do that with lawsuits to bury you in legal costs. Such lawsuits are often meritless, but see if you can foot the bill to show this in a court of law.

And, no, the government cannot decide to levy an arbitrary tax on you as an individual. This sort of punitive private bill is covered under the constitutional ban on Bills of Attainder (which is interpreted more broadly in the U.S. than the meaning just of declaring someone guilty of a crime).

For a corporation to get your property without your permission, same thing. The government calls it eminent domain.

The government must pay you fair market value, not simply seize it.

Comment: Re:Good thing. (Score 1) 283

by crunchygranola (#48973031) Attached to: FAA Could Extend Property Rights On the Moon Through Regulation

All the government can do is to put me in jail, tax me or force me out of the country.

Zuckerberg could shut off my Facebook access.

He could also file a SLAPP lawsuit against you to make you life hell and bury you in litigation costs, ruining you financially, with his pocket change. And he could pay any number of anonymous individuals to harass you in many ways: anonymous death threats, have strangers follow you and your family around taking pictures (see how Brown & Williamson harassed Jeffrey Wigand), exhaustively research your background and publicize any "dirt" they can find. It doesn't even have to be real dirt - lots of things can be made to look bad, and they have a super-loud megaphone (that money=speech thing) that will drown you out as you try to clear your name.

Unscrupulous people with vast wealth at their disposal can destroy you if they choose.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley